New Zealand captain Kane Williamson insisted the fact his side lost to potential World Cup final opponents Australia and England earlier in the tournament would have no bearing on Sunday’s showpiece match at Lord’s.
The Black Caps upset the odds to beat group table-toppers India by 18 runs in a dramatic semifinal at Old Trafford on Wednesday.
And after what New Zealand media quickly dubbed ‘The Manchester Miracle’, the understated Williamson insisted the 2015 runners-up had every chance of going one better and winning their first World Cup title.
Williamson is confident despite an 86-run defeat by Australia -- the team that beat New Zealand in the final four years ago -- and a 119-run loss to England in the initial 10-team group stage.
“Every game throughout the round-robin was worth a couple of points so they were all important,” Williamson said. “Obviously a semifinal is worth a few more than two points. But, you know, we’ll go into another match and try to implement similar things that are important to our side, that gives us the best chance of success.
“There are so many strong teams in the tournament, another semifinal tomorrow (Thursday) that can go either way, two very good sides.
“But we turn up on the day and anybody can beat anybody. It’s important that feet are on the ground and we look forward to that challenge.”
Asked what this win would mean for cricket in New Zealand, where rugby union’s world champion All Blacks dominate the sporting scene, Williamson said: “I don’t think it will change the number one sport. I’m sure people back home are pretty excited and, you know, another great opportunity to play in a World Cup final.
“Only every four years do you get the opportunity to play in a World Cup, let alone make a final,” added Williamson.